Transcriptional induction of the c-fos gene in response to epidermal growth factor stimulation is mediated in part by a ternary nucleoprotein complex within the promoter consisting of serum response factor (SRF), p62(TCF)/Elk-1 and the serum response element (SRE). Both SRF and p62(TCF)/Elk-1 contact the DNA and bind in a cooperative manner to the SRE. In this study, we demonstrate that SRF and Elk-1 interact directly in the absence of the SRE. A 30-amino-acid peptide from Elk-1 (B-box) is both necessary and sufficient to mediate protein-protein contacts with SRF. Moreover, the Elk-1 B-box is necessary to enable SRF-dependent binding of an alternative ETS domain (from the transcription factor PU.1) to the c-fos SRE. Mutations in either the Elk-1 B-box or the C-terminal half of the SRF DNA- binding domain (core(SRF)) which show reduced ability to form ternary complexes also show greatly reduced protein-protein interactions in the absence of the SRE. Our results clearly demonstrate that direct protein- protein interactions between the transcription factors Elk-1 and SRF, in addition to DNA contacts, contribute to the formation of a ternary complex on the c-fos SRE. We discuss the wider applicability of our results in describing specific protein-protein interactions between short well-defined transcription factor domains.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Molecular and Cellular Biology|
|Publication status||Published - May 1994|